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Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Economy

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Learning Democracy in School and Society
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Abstract

The tension between economic and democratic imperatives is not only felt in schools, colleges and universities but is also increasingly having an impact on lifelong learning. In this chapter I review these developments and identify shifts and transformations in policy and practice. I show how the very definition of what lifelong learning is and what it is for has dramatically changed over the past decades, moving from a broad and encompassing conception of lifelong learning for economic, personal and political benefit towards a much more narrow view which emphasises first and foremost the economic rationale. This has gone hand in hand with an increased individualisation of lifelong learning – making lifelong learning the responsibility of individuals – and a shift from lifelong learning as a right individuals can claim towards lifelong learning as a duty that is put upon individuals in the name of such abstract ideals as ‘the global economy’ or ‘global competitiveness.’ I not only show how these shifts impact at the level of individuals but also make a case for the need to reconnect the idea of lifelong learning with the democratic imperative – an idea to which I refer as the ‘learning democracy.’

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© 2011 Sense Publishers

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Biesta, G.J.J. (2011). Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Economy. In: Learning Democracy in School and Society. SensePublishers. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6091-512-3_5

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